Huge blow for Ivory Coast after five stars pull out of Zambia clash


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Ivory Coast will miss five players for their 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying fixture against Zambia at Yamoussoukro Stadium on Friday.

Burnley attacker Maxwell Cornet, Arsenal’s Nicolas Pepe, defender Odilon Kossounou of Bundesliga club Bayer Leverkusen, Manchester United’s Eric Bailly, and Hassane Kamara of relegated Watford will all miss the Group H fixture owing to various reasons.

An update by the Ivorian FA, posted on Social Media, reads: “The new coach, (Jean Louis) Gasset basically has his whole world, 21 players present, and all available for the matchday one fixture.

“It is necessary to note some absent players in case of injury or illness: Maxwell Cornet, Nicolas Pepe, Odilon Kossounou, Eric Bailly, and Hassane Kamara.

“As for Kamara he is absent for a school examination.”

The Elephants have, however, confirmed reinforcement to their squad with two additions, namely Emmanuel Agbadou of KAS Eupen, and Kouassi Attohoula Yao of ASEC Mimosas while Oumar Diakite from Red Salzburg in Austria, joined the team’s camp on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Zambia arrived in Abidjan, Ivory Coast on Wednesday afternoon and will camp there before travelling to the capital city, Yamoussoukro for Friday’s encounter.

Coach Aljosa Asanovic named twenty-four players in Chipolopolo’s traveling squad

Asanovic’s side warmed up for the qualifier with three friendlies in March. They lost 3-1 to Iraq and then beat Congo by the same scoreline before being beaten 2-1 by Benin.